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November 1942

Special Forces Operations in November 1942

November 8th, 1942
Operation Torch
Commandos, U.S. Army Rangers
No. 1 Commando, No. 6 Commando, U.S. 168th Regimental Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division, 36th Brigade Group of the British 78th Infantry Division. Their mission is to land from the sea, overcome the French Defences and move land inward.

Both Commandos are part of the landings of the U.S. 34th Infantry Division under the overall command of Major-General Charles W. Ryder on three landing beaches around Algiers, Algeria. Two beaches are situated west of Algiers and one east. The Commandos land with the U.S. 168th Regimental Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division on the Middle Beach. The 36th Brigade Group of the British 78th Infantry Division serves as a (floating) Reserve unit.

The landings are a complete succes. Even though some units land on the wrong beaches, they land almost unopposed. The coastal batteries have already been neutralised by the French Resistance and one French commander defects to the Allies. 

November 11th, 1942 – November 12th, 1942
Operation Fahrenheit
Commandos, Small Scale Raiding Force
Ten men from No. 12 Commando and the Small Scale Raiding Force, No. 62 Commando, Motor Torpedo Boat 344. Their mission is to capture German servicemen for interrogation by attacking a signals station at Pointe de Plouezec on the North Brittany coast, France.
After a frontal assault on the Signal Station and killing several Germans, the raiding party comes under fire from the Signals Station. They decide to retreat before reinforcements arrive. The rading party successfully re-embarks and returns to Dartmouth.

November 15th,1942 – November 16th, 1942
Operation Batman
Commando, Small Scale Raiding Force
Ten men from No. 12 Commando and the Small Scale Raiding Force, No. 62 Commando, Motor Torpedo Boat 344. Their mission is situated near Cherbourg, France.

The operation is cancelled due to high seas.

November 18th,1942 – November 23rd, 1942
Operation Freshman
1st Airborne Division
Thirty-two sappers from the Royal Engineer units attached to 1st Airborne Division, two Horsa Gliders and two Handley Page Halifax Tug Aircraft of No. 38 Wing RAF. Their mission was to destroy the Vemork Norsk hydro hydrogen electrolysis plant in Telemark, Norway which produced heavy water that could be used to support the German Nuclear Bomb program.

After the glider-borne landing on the frozen lake Møsvatn, the raiding party are to rendezvous with the ‘Grouse’ team and move to the Vemork Norsk hydro hydrogen electrolysis plant in Telemark. The operation fails when the troop-carrying gliders and one of their Handley Page Halifax tugs crash short of their destination. Except for the crew of one Halifax bomber, all the participants are killed in the crashes or captured. The captured men are first interrogated and then executed by the Gestapo as a result of Hitler’s Kommando Befehl.

November 22nd, 1942 – November 29th, 1942
Five men of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. Their mission is to conduct a reconnaissance and capture prisoners in the Bergen area, Norway.

There were three attempts at this operation. The first one is abandoned after being spotted by German aircraft. The second succeeds in landing and gather some intelligence from Norwegian fishermen. After which they retreat. The third was abandoned due to harsh weather.

November 23rd, 1942
Operation Swallow
Norwegian Independent Company 1, Special Operations Executive
Four-man Norwegian Team of Norwegian Independent Company 1 (Kompani Linge). Their mission is train local groups and target ‘Hirdmen’ (Quisling vigilante guards) and Norwegian collaborators and informers. This is the same group as the men in Operation Grouse. The name was changed for security measurements after Operation Freshman failed.

November 30th, 1942 – December 5th, 1942
Operation Bizerte
Commandos, U.S. Army Rangers
No. 1 Commando (6 troops), 1st Battalion U.S. Army Rangers (4 companies), eight donkeys (mortars), nine Landing Craft Mechanised and four Landing Craft Assault. Their mission is to seize and hold two Road Junctions, deny the road between these junctions to the enemy, destroy the enemy transport and delay and harass the enemy forces withdrawing before the advance of 36th Infantry Brigade in Garaet Achkel, Douar Faroudja area in Tunesia.

After landing the Commandos and US. Army Rangers move towards their objectives. They succeed in capturing both road junctions and the road in between. The enemy is denied from using the road for three days. The British suffer 4 Officers and 56 Other Ranks as casualties, while the Americans loose 2 Officers and 72 Other Ranks.